Why We All Need Time to Tinker With TechThis was a good article on many levels. The last paragraph captured most of the main ideas:
"Tinkering is not about the product, it’s about the process. Enjoy the journey and don’t focus so much on having a spiffy product that can be presented or showcased. There is a time and a place for presenting, but true integration is about the journey and what was learned along the way. Tinkering is messy, but fosters deeper learning because learners are doing the thinking. Embrace it. Find balance. Find relief in the fact that you do not have to have all of the answers."
In the engineering and electronics design classes I teach, they may not finish their final projects. So the question becomes, "how do you assess?" I focus more on a presentation of how students have developed their projects. I want them to dig into topics and building things that interest and challenge them, more than having prescribed, artificial due dates. Yes, during the course they are required to finish some prescribed projects in a time-frame and there is the need for kids to learn project management skills in any class. But the last one is for them. For each project they present the Design Process they followed (see previous post on a diagram we follow and design presentations about), and reflect on what worked, what did not. It was nice to see some validation from another corner with this philosophy.